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Greenpeace Slams Nike’s Detox Efforts

Nike’s quarterly profits may have trumped Wall Street estimates Thursday but the world’s largest sportswear maker has been labeled a “greenwasher” by Greenpeace’s Detox Catwalk. The initiative ranks how effectively major fashion brands are removing toxic chemicals from their supply chains and tackling water pollution.

The environmental group said Nike “paints itself as a detox leader but is way behind on transparency.”

Despite Nike’s proactive approach to chemical management, including its partnership with Bluesign Technologies to accelerate innovation in more sustainable materials and its participation in the development of the apparel industry’s first common restricted substances list (RSL), as well as developing a water-free dyeing technique called Colordry and researching alternatives to cotton, it wasn’t enough to keep the sportswear titan from being ranked below the likes of fast-fashion purveyors Primark and H&M.

Sixteen fashion companies, including Inditex, Puma, Mango, Esprit and Benetton, were labeled “leaders” for their efforts to eliminate such hazardous chemicals as nonylphenols, phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from their clothes. Greenpeace said these companies have also started releasing the pollution data of their suppliers to an independent online platform.

In addition, the campaign singled out 11 companies as “detox losers,” including Gap, Hermes, LVMH and Diesel, calling them uncommitted toxic addicts that “refuse to take responsibility for their toxic trail.”

Since the Detox Catwalk launched in 2011, harmful chemical groups have been phased out in Europe and regulated in China and Indonesia. However, while a lot has been done there is much more to do, as the companies that have committed to the campaign account for just 10 percent of the global fashion and footwear market.